The extraordinary plans afoot in Canberra for Malcolm Turnbull, Paul Keating, Kevin Rudd, or someone of their ilk, to succeed Queen Elizabeth in her capacity as Queen of Australia were noted in my comment inThe Spectator Australia earlier this year. Under a plan concocted by Victorian federal Labor MP Julian Hill, this is to be achieved without a referendum.
Little did I know then that the ultimate choice of the successor to Her Majesty could lie in the hands of none other than the dismissed Victorian minister at the centre of Victoria’s branch stacking scandal.
He is, as reporters so elegantly put it, the ‘disgraced’ Adem Somyurek. Readers will know that the Premier claims to have been shocked by his language, described in the media as sexist and homophobic.
What then if Mr Somyurek decided that he should succeed the Queen.
Politicians interviewed in the media purport to be shocked not only by Mr Somyurek’s language but also by his branch stacking. What is much more likely is that everyone knew, and many benefited. This would of course include the party itself in that this no doubt assisted in its attaining government.
The attitude would have been to say ‘’Good old Adem, he’s a card but he gets the job done ‘’ or other words to indicate he was well worth tolerating.
Coalition politicians may well gloat. That is understandable, schadenfreude being the most human of emotions. The reason we do not really have a word for that in English is not that the English speaking are innocent, but we are more hypocritical than the Germans who more openly admit their sins.
But Coalition politicians should not affect moral superiority. Among their ranks are several proficient branch stackees. They should never be allowed to forget that in the 2004 election that delivered Wentworth to Malcolm Turnbull, there were more Liberal Party members in Wentworth branches than in all of New South Wales. Nor should they forget that the then Director of the NSW Branch was none other than Mr Scott Morrison.
A friend recently reminded me of this. Although his membership had lapsed, he was summonsed to a meeting of a Liberal Party inquisition to answer a charge that he had helped former member Peter King campaign against Mr Turnbull. He says Mr Morrison, as Director, was prominently present at the hearing. My friend complained that the photographic evidence against him was concocted and that anyway he was no longer a member. ‘We still retain jurisdiction over you,’ declared the lady president of the tribunal.
The fact is that Australia’s principal political parties are more captured by cabals of powerbrokers than in comparable countries. Under their rule, branch stacking and other vices are hardly surprising. The result is candidates are more likely to be chosen for loyalty to a powerbroker than on merit. Australia is the loser.
The best solution is, I believe, to require that in return for the vast cornucopia of financial and legal privileges they receive, the parties be required to be open, transparent and democratic. The ideal would be for preselections to be made through primaries to choose the party candidate and leader by registered supporters. These reforms could be secured by legislation and entrenched constitutionally.
Now as to the plan for a republic, Julian Hill claimed that expert legal advice had been obtained on how best to hijack the succession to the Queen without the tedium of first obtaining Australians approval in a constitutional referendum.
Along with this, there seems a curious tendency, noted in these pages, that most in the political class who would remove the Crown from the Constitution also support moving Australia into Beijing’s orbit. Consistent with this, the Victorian government has already signed up to the Chinese Communist Belt and Road Initiative following Malcolm Turnbull’s Memorandum of Understanding with the communist regime on this.
What is interesting is that with the current branch stacking scandal in Victoria, Mr Adem Somyurek is heard on the tape broadcast on the Channel Nine 60 minutes programme saying he effectively controls the future of Julian Hills, among others.
Does that mean that if Mr Hills were to get his politicians republic through the back door, Mr Somyurek was to control the choice of the governor-general or president?
Especially if he were resurrected
Remember, never have so few had so much on so many.
Illustration: Wikimedia Commons.
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